By: Bill Goodson
Reviewed by: Dee Jordan
Xlibris Corporation, 2008
Bill Goodson takes a tired plot and adds a fresh twist to it in his book Scherib. The novel, though set mainly in the state of Tennessee, takes the reader around the world, even to the Vatican.
Jenny Peale, who works for the Tennessee Valley Authority, better known as the TVA, opens the book with her breaking into a Catholic school in Mobile, Alabama, trying to retrieve information about her father. The Governor of Tennessee, Patricia Beason, has dropped a recent bombshell on her. She is her mother and not her aunt. Jenny is obsessed with learning the identity of her father because her mother refuses to divulge the information. This is the major plot of the book, which I found somewhat predictable.
The subplot is another matter and takes readers to edge of their seats as a plot unfolds to blow up the dam at Lake Guntersville and flood everything downstream including the Redstone Arsenal and the Brown’s Ferry nuclear power plant.
We find that Scherib, a scholar of ancient history, is sending coded e-mail messages to Jenny. The clues therein lead Jenny’s boyfriend to a museum in Chicago where he uncovers the devious plan to blow up a dam somewhere along the TVA’s system of many locks and dams.
The author has two protagonists and another interesting subplot. Archbishop Michael Brittian wants to deal with a priest who has molested a boy by bringing the church into a position of openness and honesty rather than moving the priest around only to molest again. Of course, the church treats him as a man going mental and tries their best to profane the character of the Archbishop. The author sheds light on the Catholic Church’s closed lips policy in regards to dealing with its pedophilia problem.
Goodson takes readers back and forth between these three plots and weaves a tale of intrigue and harrowing disbelief that two homegrown terrorists are going to destroy so many lives if successful.
Personally, I wouldn’t have picked up the book with a title that I didn’t understand. It goes perfectly with the story, but one doesn’t find out its meaning until nearly halfway through the book. By sticking with the book, I ended up reading a story whose outcome was completely unpredictable and well worth the read.
Dee Jordan writes articles for New York City Voices and has a short story in the literary e-zine, Free Fall.